Access to slaughter capacity funding enhanced following talks between Agriculture Minister and MP Jay Hill

OTTAWA ? Jay Hill, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River and Official Opposition House Leader, said yesterday?s announcement concerning attempts to fix the beleaguered federal Loan Loss Reserve Program means that local producers of beef and other ruminants might finally receive some long overdue cooperation from the federal government in expanding slaughter capacity.

?I made it clear in a number of discussions with Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell throughout the past month, that onerous restrictions for the Loan Loss Reserve Program (LLRP) were hindering producers? efforts to increase slaughter capacity,? said Hill. ?While the Minister did not announce new funding, he did negotiate changes to the program that actually facilitate investment in new processing facilities.?

Hill said he is hopeful these changes will prove particularly helpful to the Peace Country Tender Beef Co-op, which has been attempting to open a new slaughterhouse in Dawson Creek.

?Area producers have been anxiously awaiting the opening of this state-of-the-art slaughterhouse, yet the federal Liberals? failure to provide promised loan guarantees for such projects has left farmers and the Peace Country Tender Beef Co-op in the lurch,? said Hill.

Hill also noted that the Minister?s announcement included a promise to step up ?conversion of provincially-inspected plants to federally-inspected plants?. Through it wasn?t made clear in the documentation, Hill wondered whether this will aid the Northern BC Buffalo Company which has been seeking to operate a federally-approved mobile abattoir in the area.

?I am viewing this announcement with cautious optimism,? concluded Hill. ?The Liberals are notorious for creating farm programs designed by bureaucrats for bureaucrats. For me, the proof will be when we see new slaughterhouse facilities up and running in Prince George-Peace River!?